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For all those moms repressing their inner avant-garde artist, Jane Burton is an inspiration. Six years ago, this Walnut Creek mother discovered a passion for firing clay sculptures in big pits of fire.

The results are beautiful in the abstract way that usually leads to years of toil in high-minded obscurity. But Burton’s works, inspired by the shell or skeletal remains of animals, have drawn notice, and are on display in her show, Stories Left Behind, at the Bedford Gallery.

“Having this creative outlet has balanced out my life,” says Burton. “It’s a personal passion I can fulfill.”

Stories Left Behind, through August 28 at the Bedford Gallery, Dean Lesher Regional Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Dr., Walnut Creek, (925) 295-1417, www.bedfordgallery.org .

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